Ah, Communism: the Political Structure of the People!

This is about what one should expect from a communist utopia:

Until May, a sign inside the gate identified the property as the Beijing Customs Administration Vegetable Base and Country Club. The placard was removed after a Chinese reporter sneaked inside and published a story about the farm producing organic food so clean the cucumbers could be eaten directly from the vine. …
Many of the nation’s best food companies don’t promote or advertise. They don’t want the public to know that their limited supply is sent to Communist Party officials, dining halls reserved for top athletes, foreign diplomats, and others in the elite classes. The general public, meanwhile, dines on foods that are increasingly tainted or less than healthful — meats laced with steroids, fish from ponds spiked with hormones to increase growth, milk containing dangerous additives such as melamine, which allows watered-down milk to pass protein-content tests.

Communism, like socialism more broadly, is about the haves buying off the have-nots with promises and rhetoric to make their tyranny sound charitable. At the end of the day, the wall around the edible food supply is just as high or higher, and the people outside have less opportunity to develop their own.

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Russ
Russ
10 years ago

Sort of like taking Chile under Pinochet as an example to tar all capitalist societies.
Since, we’re talking food security. Here’s the countries ranked least at risk:
Finland
Sweden
Denmark
Norway
Hmm, what do those states have in common? They’re all Scandanavian aaaaand?

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

Ranked by what or whom? And how is that even relevant to the purpose of the post?
Can we get a permanent dunce title assigned to this commenter?

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

What a shock! Out come the personal attacks from those with little else to say.
Dan, feel free to clue me in as to the “purpose of the post.” It wasn’t to erroneously imply based on a single news item that all socialist societies must operate like the Chinese?
Not to mention that the Chinese are more accurately described as a form of state capitalism. It’s like Justin is living in a some kind of time warp.
http://www.forbes.com/fdc/welcome_mjx.shtml

As communist governments collapsed all over the world, communists in China maintained power through brute force, best exemplified by the quashing of the Tiananmen Square protests. Yet China’s communists also understood that command economies could not effectively compete against free markets. The trick, as far as they were concerned, was to grow the economy while maintaining political control. Their solution was state capitalism, an ideal that has spread around the globe–even to the U.S.

So by Justin’s logic this is a necessary by-product of capitalism, right? (sadly food safety in the U.S. is not much better, so I’m not sure that’s far from the truth)

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

Russ – My comment had substance. You just chose to ignore it.
I asked what or who ranked the countries in the “ranking” you cited. Simple question, I thought.

msteven
msteven
10 years ago

Russ,
I agree with you that it’s unfair to use any single or multiple examples as an indicator of an entire political or economic system.
So are you saying that the Scandinavian countries having safer food quality is an indicator that socialism is superior to capitalism? Maybe just in the area of safer food?
Also, do you agree with the above that the best way is to keep total political control while allowing some free-market forces to maintain the economy? That the government policies in China are superior to US Democracy? Where in the US has this idea spread, in your opinion?
The best government is a mix of socialism and capitalism, the only question is to what degree of each. There are no examples of complete-unregulated capitalism and no successful or even positive examples of communism/socialism. The Scandinavian countries are based on capitalism but have much more social welfare and regulation than the US. They are also far from self-sufficient and depend heavily on others for their security and economics. They don’t exist or succeed/fail in a vacuum.

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

“Russ – My comment had substance. You just chose to ignore it.”
Oh, so the guy who constantly harasses me for posting blockquoted and sourced comments now expects me to take his question on my sources seriously? Forgive me for not picking up on that.
maplecroft.com/about/news/food-security.html

The Food Security Risk Index 2010, released by risk analysis and rating firm Maplecroft, evaluates the risks to the supply of basic food staples for 163 countries. It uses 12 criteria developed in collaboration with the World Food Programme, to calculate the ranking including: the nutritional and health status of populations, cereal production and imports, GDP per capita, natural disasters, conflict, and the effectiveness of government.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

Russ – There is a difference between blockquote spamming comment threads and letting people know from where you are getting a specific “ranking” referenced explicitly in your post. I’m confident that even you can understand this difference. We cannot very well dispute a ranking if we don’t know from where or how it was generated, can we?
As a follow-up, I do not find your source to be credible or convincing. I assume that you were too embarrassed to cite it in your original comment.

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

“So are you saying that the Scandinavian countries having safer food quality is an indicator that socialism is superior to capitalism?”
No, I don’t see food safety as an inherent part of either system, although it’s clear that European states with democratic socialism have better outcomes on pretty much every indicator in public health than the U.S.
“Also, do you agree with the above that the best way is to keep total political control while allowing some free-market forces to maintain the economy? That the government policies in China are superior to US Democracy?”
No, not at all (I consider myself left libertarian). Although there is little question that state capitalism is booming at the moment versus the deep recession brought on by so-called “free” market policies here in the U.S.
“Where in the US has this idea spread, in your opinion?”
Where hasn’t the idea spread? Let’s see banking, pharma, military contracting, manufacturing.
“The best government is a mix of socialism and capitalism, the only question is to what degree of each…”
Agreed. All good points.

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

“I assume that you were too embarrassed to cite it in your original comment.”
*Yawn*

Sammy in Arizona
Sammy in Arizona
10 years ago

Eventually, the wheels will come off the GOP’s Corporate Express (just like the wheels of the former communist countries)
. People will realize that today’s Republican Party ONLY cares for the top 1%. People will wake up to the fact that the evangelicals have been used to further not a repressive social agenda but instead a pro-wealthy agenda, where neo-feudalism keeps the lower classes beyond the gates of the very wealthy.
People will realize this. They will turn off the GOP-wing-nut echo chamber (talk radio, Fox News, WPRO, Anchor Rising etc) but they’ll realize it. I still have faith in humanity.

msteven
msteven
10 years ago

“Although there is little question that state capitalism is booming at the moment versus the deep recession brought on by so-called “free” market policies here in the U.S.”
Another anecdotal-proof statement. The current poor economy is no more indicative of free markets being bad than the vast majority of times when investing in the stock market has produced positive results is indicative that free markets are good.
Can’t have it both ways.
The other night I turned on TV to see snippets of Hannity & Rachel Maddow’s shows. Hannity was talking about a bad behaving person who had ties to the Obama administration and Maddow was talking about a bad behaving Republican. Sadly, this is what has become of political discourse and persuasion. Personal behavior and anecdotal events as tools of persuasion.
The electorate has become intellectually lazy in my view.

Max Diesel
Max Diesel
10 years ago

Russ apparently didn’t think that out of 163 countries, 5th and 6th were as important as 1 through 4.
1 Finland
2 Sweden
3 Denmark
4 Norway
5 Canada
6 United States
You don’t suppose Europe’s socialist tendencies have anything to do with their sucking economy. Not that we’re doing great but talk about PIIGS at the trough.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

“The electorate has become intellectually lazy in my view.” -msteven
Not everyone – just automatons like Russ. Sammy is a Democratic troll so he doesn’t count.
“it’s clear that European states with democratic socialism have better outcomes on pretty much every indicator in public health than the U.S.”-Russ
Not true, and you should clarify what you mean by this irresponsibly vague statement. The US has the best survival rates in the world for many forms of cancer, heart conditions, and other diseases. Most Americans receive excellent health care and are happy with it. If you are including illegal immigrants and homeless, then yes, those populations will bring the overall public health indicators down.
“I consider myself left libertarian” – Russ
By the American definition of the word, there is really no such thing and this is a contradiction in terms. I understand that in Europe libertarianism is conceived differently. I generally support allowing people to self-associate, but I am convinced that you are simply trying to confuse and obfuscate by using this term. You are a democratic socialist by American terms, so just call yourself that and everyone will know what you mean. No libertarian with whom I am familiar in this country would consider you a libertarian, Russ.

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

“Another anecdotal-proof statement. The current poor economy is no more indicative of free markets being bad than the vast majority of times when investing in the stock market has produced positive results is indicative that free markets are good.”
No, no, I disagree. Boom-bust cycles are a major problem with unregualted capitalism. Quite possibly the major problem. But that’s not to say markets are bad. But remember I’m not trying to prove anything here other than that Justin’s premise is bunk.

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

“You don’t suppose Europe’s socialist tendencies have anything to do with their sucking economy.”
And let’s not pretend that capitalists didn’t have a hand in it either!
“How Goldman Sachs Helped Greece to Mask its True Debt”
http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,676634,00.html

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

“Although there is little question that state capitalism is booming at the moment versus the deep recession brought on by so-called “free” market policies here in the U.S.”
Gotta love this whopper from Russ as well. Yes, the Chinese economy is wonderful if you ignore the fact that over a third of their population lives on less than $2 a day. Much of their rosy economic data is complete propaganda as well.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

I have never understood why we choose to ignore the fact that China is still, very much, a Communist country.
It is all in whose ox is being gored, I suppose.
There was a time when we cheered Mussolini because he made the trias run on time. THe New York Times won a Pulitzer Prize for an extended series on Joe Stalin which chose to ignore his killing, what was it, 5,000,000 Ukranians.

Justin Katz
Justin Katz
10 years ago

One thing I’d be sorely tempted to subsidize would be reading lessons for the likes of Russ.
The only way his comments above would border on coherence would be if I’d claimed that capitalism is perfect, all degrees and brands of socialism were identical, and various other things that he assumes I must believe. What I actually wrote was as follows (with the phrases that I thought somebody of an 8th grade reading level would infer inserted with brackets):

At the end of the day, the wall around the edible food supply is just as high or higher [in communist and socialist societies as compared with societies that organize themselves differently], and the people outside [the walls in communist/socialist countries] have less opportunity to develop their own [food supplies, compared with those in less-regulated societies].

Does that help, Russ, or are you too interested in confirming your biases to accept correction and guidance?

Max Diesel
Max Diesel
10 years ago

“Boom-bust cycles are a major problem with unregualted capitalism.”
Really? Please educated us as to what sovereign entity has ‘unregulated capitalism’ and what planet it is on.

msteven
msteven
10 years ago

“No, no, I disagree. Boom-bust cycles are a major problem with unregulated capitalism.”
So what country has an unregulated capitalistic economy? Do you think the US does? I guess you are also saying that boom-bust cycles never occur in completely government regulated economies. Right.
“The only way his comments above would border on coherence would be if I’d claimed that capitalism is perfect, all degrees and brands of socialism were identical …”
Well said Justin. There is fair debate to be had on the correct degree of governmental regulation. But I don’t think Russ is up to it.

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
10 years ago

Hmm, what do those states have in common? They’re all Scandanavian aaaaand?
Posted by Russ at October 6, 2011 1:33 PM
aaaand they all kick out illegal aliens, deny them aaaaand their anchor baby kids benefits aaaaand citizenship aaaaand all have very strong righ wing anti-immigrant political parties that brought those changes and ensure they don’t get rolled back.

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

“Another anecdotal-proof statement…”
So don’t believe i, but I’m only repeating what’s been written in Forbes and the Wall Street Journal. You guys act like I’m quoting the ISR:
online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703514904575602731006315198.html
Also, here’s the correct Forbes link (not sure what happened there).
http://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2010/03/22/communism-is-dead-but-state-capitalism-thrives/

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

“One thing I’d be sorely tempted to subsidize would be reading lessons for the likes of Russ.”
Oh, if only I were as smart as Justin! Let me get this straight, you folks think liberals are the elitists?
Here you go, Dan…
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-libertarianism
msteven, I previously had thought you were the one redeeming poster in this thread, but apparently I was mistaken.

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

“The only way his comments above would border on coherence would be if I’d claimed that capitalism is perfect, all degrees and brands of socialism were identical …”
No, you seem to miss entirely the point and to not realize what a ridiculous and sweeping categorization you attempt to make:
“Communism, like socialism more broadly, is about the haves buying off the have-nots with promises and rhetoric to make their tyranny sound charitable.”
So all socialism is tyranny? Come on, Justin. It’s a laughable position to hold. There are autocratic “socialist” states (how socialist is a state that bans labor unions?) and autocratic capitalist states, just as there are democratic examples of each. What’s funny is that this false framing seems so natural to the fringe-right, that you folks don’t even realize how out there those statements appear to the rest of us.

msteven
msteven
10 years ago

Russ,
I had thought the same of you. To me, the irony is that you point out the sweeping categorization and simplistic rhetoric used by those whose ideology you disagree but then you use the same to attempt to make your point. Linking/quoting to a something doesn’t legitimize it. You don’t want the facts. You want only to justify your viewpoint.
Not saying you are unique – sadly, you are in the great majority.

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

“..but then you use the same to attempt to make your point.”
Not following you there. I simply pointed out that food security is better in some “socialist” European states than in the U.S. Everyone else read that to be see uber-critique of capitalism despite my best efforts to dissuade them (e.g.”…that’s not to say markets are bad. I’m not trying to prove anything here other than that Justin’s premise is bunk”).
You at least phrased your responses as questions rather than telling me what I (as a leftist) think, which I appreciated.

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

“Linking/quoting to a something doesn’t legitimize it.”
I does however save me some typing. Keep in mind, I posted that Forbes info and concluded “by Justin’s logic this is a necessary by-product of capitalism, right?” If I wanted to argue that socialism was superior to capitalism in food safety, I’d write my own diary about it.
Also I was honestly surprised that simply stating that since the 1970s the Chinese have embraced a form of state capitalism was something anyone would challenge.

msteven
msteven
10 years ago

“Communism, like socialism more broadly, is about the haves buying off the have-nots with promises and rhetoric to make their tyranny sound charitable.”
I’ll agree with you that the word “tyranny” in Justin’s sentence is less-than-fair. It’s as fair as the occupier-protesters who are screaming that Corporate America is a “tyranny against the worker (also silly).
But this all started with your initial response ranking the top 4 countries with the least food safety risk noting they were all Scandinavian. Aaaaaaand?
“European states with democratic socialism have better outcomes on pretty much every indicator in public health than the U.S…”
— Simply untrue. There are countries that are more socialistic than the US with better outcomes. But the countries that are the most socialistic are not near the top of the list. And you know this.
“You don’t suppose Europe’s socialist tendencies have anything to do with their sucking economy.” And let’s not pretend that capitalists didn’t have a hand in it either!”
—– Seriously? The reason for Greece’s financial crisis was because of American greed? If only they wouldn’t have dealt with a for-profit company, then their economy would have been just fine. Really? This is not a good card to play.
Finally, I didn’t read that anyone challenged the fact that since the 1970s the Chinese have embraced a form of state capitalism. I think what has been challenged is that this in anyway supports the socialist Chinese government and econony. China’s economy has grown because they have allowed “some” free-market forces. Are you supportive of how the Chinese government operates either politically or economically?

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

Same intellectually lazy pattern with Russ as always:
1. State bias as fact
2. Sift through search engine results for anything that confirms bias
3. Ignore results that don’t fit bias
4. Draw conclusion and state as fact
5. Do a verbal victory dance
6. Repeat
The truly sad part is he considers himself to be some sort of formidable political philosopher to be reckoned with. In reality, it’s the same experience for all of us as arguing with an elementary schooler.

helen
helen
10 years ago

“left Libertarian”…that is a contradiction in terms. No such critter.
The left is authoritarian and dictatorial. Liberatarians are for freedom and have often been criticized for being a little too free. The left wants to control in an outrageous way.

helen
helen
10 years ago

Russ,
It seems there are Elitists on both major sides of the fence. People who know better than you or I do how to live our lives and spend our money. Ya know?

helen
helen
10 years ago

I must add that the Ukranians who suffered through the Communist caused famine might not agree that Socialism and Communism make for a more secure food supply.

Justin Katz
Justin Katz
10 years ago

msteven:
“Tyranny” is a loaded word, to be sure, leaving no doubt as to my opinion of socialists and their underlying motivation, but it still applies well enough to people who wish to use government to shape society according to their own priorities, inasmuch as the word isn’t invalidated by charitable intentions.
Moreover, my contention isn’t that every socialist impulse is tantamount to dictatorship, but rather that an organizing principle that seeks to leverage government to address more than a very narrow range of social needs will tend toward tyranny over time in a way that an organizing principle that seeks to limit government will not.

msteven
msteven
10 years ago

Justin,
“… to make their tyranny sound charitable.”
—- I happen to agree with your principle that leveraging government to address most of societies needs will tend toward tyranny over time. But still, your use of it could just as well be applied to capitalist principles also. Like you said, it’s a loaded word to be sure.
Funny how the word “elitist” word is thrown around these days. It’s become another loaded (and ultimately meaningless) word used for partisan rhetoric on both sides.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

Communism:Mike and Ike are having a chat and Mike says”I’m a communist”-so Ike asks what that is.
Mike says:If I have two factories,I give you one,and if I have two mansions,I give you one.
Ike says:OK,then,if you have two shirts,you give me one,right?
Mike says:No,no-I actually HAVE two shirts.
Russ has two shirts.

helen
helen
10 years ago

Msteven,
Let’s not forget that President Obama’s father wrote a paper justifying the government taking 100% of earnings as long as the government provided people’s basic needs.
Using the government for such purposes will not “tend” towards tyranny. It will be and is tyranny.
Elitist is not an overused word that has lost meaning. It has a definite meaning that is fresh,cutting and true.
Your remark sparks the question of why you would try to downplay the idea of elitism.

helen
helen
10 years ago

Hey! With all this talk of leveraging government,what about the Constitution of the United States of America?
Is that supposed to be “leveraged”?

helen
helen
10 years ago

By the way.I’ve noticed a decline in the quality of our produce and meats.
When I was a young married woman,I would purchase those big family packs of cut up lamb because they were very inexpensive. Not so today. I haven’t seen one for many,many years as a matter of fact and it’s hard to find American lamb now,too. One example.
Produce is not the same as it was in years past. High priced,often tasteless,imported and sometimes,if you purchase a container of it,spoiled on the bottom. I don’t know how many times I have purchased something mundane as potatoes and had many of them rotten to the heart. So what happened and where did the good stuff go? I’m old enough to remember really good produce.
Try finding a reasonably priced turkey outside of Thanksgiving season or a nice standing rib roast when it isn’t holiday time. Why are items such as these almost unavailable and/or prohibitively priced in grocery stores?

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

Helen-Hopkins Farm out on Route 6(I think it’s Scituate or Foster)sells fresh killed lamb.
You’re right about produce-I never buy any Mexican or Central American produce that doesn’t have to be cooked.The water supplies there are contaminated.
Produce from Chile is no problem as a rule.
Berries are very susceptible to having rotten ones in the bottom of the container.
I’ve found Price Rite the best place to shop because the turnover is so fast and the prices are great.
Just go on a weekday morning-weekends are like Armageddon.
I remember fresh killed chicken and good quality meat at the butcher’s as a kid in the 50’s.Never heard of food poisoning back then,at least not E.coli/Listeria.etc.
Shellfish that was uncooked was the biggest offender(still is).

Phil
Phil
10 years ago

Shellfish is fine, Joe. Before you continue with your hoof in mouth consider that our elders suffered from botulism and trichinosis that is rarely seen now.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

phil -you’re full of sh*t-raw shellfish isn’t “fine”.Cooked-no worse than anything else.
And,yes,the remark was aimed right at you.But it is no lie.
Trichinosis is indeed very rare today.
Most botulism came from home food processing,so what’s your point on that?

Phil
Phil
10 years ago

Joe
If you knew the stringent enforcement by the health department of raw shellfish I think you would reconsider your opinion. People have always dealt with problems concerning their food. Your comment about botulism is correct. Consider now the popular movement towards locally produced foods. Farmer’s markets and roadside sales are in vogue. There are at least 2 dozen suburban homes I pass every day with a cooler on the street front with cartons of eggs for 2 dollars a dozen trusting the honor system. How much regulation do you want?

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

phil-food safet enforcement is an area of government regulation that is useful and necessary-thwey can barely inspect restaurants-shellfish can be caught and introduced into the foodstream very easily without inspection in a state like this-not that many personnel to enforce the regs-maybe most shellfishermen do it the right way-it only takes a few to f**k a lot of people up.Eating ANY raw seafood,no matter how clean the water is,remains a crapshoot.
I took a course in parasitology in college-I think I learned more than I wanted to.

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

“left Libertarian”…that is a contradiction in terms. No such critter.

Ah, baloney. Here’s a site that use that uses the distinctions of left/right and authoritarian/libertarian and that imho correctly points out that it’s the anarcho-capitalist version of libertarianism that is not so libertarian in many of their positions.
http://www.politicalcompass.org/analysis2

The chart also makes clear that, despite popular perceptions, the opposite of fascism is not communism but anarchism (ie liberal socialism), and that the opposite of communism ( i.e. an entirely state-planned economy) is neo-liberalism (i.e. extreme deregulated economy)
The usual understanding of anarchism as a left wing ideology does not take into account the neo-liberal “anarchism” championed by the likes of Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman and America’s Libertarian Party, which couples social Darwinian right-wing economics with liberal positions on most social issues. Often their libertarian impulses stop short of opposition to strong law and order positions, and are more economic in substance (ie no taxes) so they are not as extremely libertarian as they are extremely right wing. On the other hand, the classical libertarian collectivism of anarcho-syndicalism ( libertarian socialism) belongs in the bottom left hand corner. [my emphasis]

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

It isn’t elitist to observe that you repeatedly misread what’s written on this site.

Some might wonder about the clarity of their own message and writing style, others blame their audience.
The funny thing, of course, is that you go on to explain to another poster that you did in fact intend to imply that all socialist societies are totalitarian (“‘Tyranny’ is a loaded word, to be sure, leaving no doubt as to my opinion of socialists and their underlying motivation…”), not a misreading on my part at all.

Both an economic dimension and a social dimension are important factors for a proper political analysis. By adding the social dimension you can show that Stalin was an authoritarian leftist (ie the state is more important than the individual) and that Gandhi, believing in the supreme value of each individual, is a liberal leftist. While the former involves state-imposed arbitrary collectivism in the extreme top left, on the extreme bottom left is voluntary collectivism at regional level, with no state involved. Hundreds of such anarchist communities exisited in Spain during the civil war period.
You can also put Pinochet, who was prepared to sanction mass killing for the sake of the free market, on the far right as well as in a hardcore authoritarian position. On the non-socialist side you can distinguish someone like Milton Friedman, who is anti-state for fiscal rather than social reasons, from Hitler, who wanted to make the state stronger, even if he wiped out half of humanity in the process.

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

“By the American definition of the word, there is really no such thing…”
I know what you’re driving at, but I think that’s because many “libertarians” in the U.S. aren’t libertarians. I frequently apologize to
the “actual libertarians” in my comments here. Not sure they’re out there, but I hope some are. Consider this re: the U.S. Libertarian Party:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_Party_(United_States)

The political platform of the Libertarian Party reflects its brand of libertarianism, favoring minimally regulated, laissez-faire markets, strong civil liberties, minimally regulated migration across borders, and non-interventionism in foreign policy, i.e., avoiding foreign military or economic entanglements with other nations and respect for freedom of trade and travel to all foreign countries.

I’m sure I have a different idea about what regulations are necessary in capitalist states, but I’d venture I’m more in line with the rest of the positions than anyone else I’ve seen posting here.
“I am convinced that you are simply trying to confuse and obfuscate by using this term.
I am convinced that you are simply trying to confuse and obfuscate by using this term.”
No, I prefer it and can describe myself as I like. I’ve always been happy to clarify what I mean by the term, so the idea that I’m trying to confuse anyone is completely unfounded.

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

How about this? http://www.theamericanconservative.com/blog/ralph-naders-grand-alliance/ It’s no secret that Ralph Nader has held the Democratic Party establishment in low regard for decades now: the marginally more palatable alternative in an ugly duopoly, he claims, is still quite ugly. But lately Nader’s disdain has reached a new high. “It’s gotten so bad,” he tells me, “that you can actually say a Republican president—with a Democratic Senate—would produce less bad results than the present situation. That’s how bollixed stuff has gone.” Not that he was ever particularly optimistic about the Obama administration, especially its potential to make headway on curtailing corporate welfare, now Nader’s signature policy objective. But in that, as with so many aspects of Obama’s presidency, the adjectives “disappointing” or “inadequate” don’t even begin to capture the depths of progressive disillusionment. Looking ahead to the 2012 presidential race, one might assume that Nader has little to be cheerful about. Yet he says there is one candidate who sticks out—who even gives him hope: Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. That might sound counterintuitive. Nader, of course, is known as a stalwart of the independent left, having first gained notoriety for his 1960s campaign to impose greater regulatory requirements on automakers—a policy act that would seem to contravene the libertarian understanding of justified governmental power. So I had to ask: how could he profess hope in Ron Paul, who almost certainly would have opposed the very regulations on which Nader built his career? “Look at the latitude,” Nader says, referring to the potential for cooperation between libertarians and the left. “Military budget, foreign wars, empire, Patriot Act, corporate welfare—for starters. When you add those all up, that’s a foundational convergence. Progressives should do so good.” I thought I’d bring up the subject of Ron Paul with Nader after seeing the two jointly interviewed… Read more »

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